Datamancer's latest creation has swept the internet, and also revived several "what is steampunk?" arguments. I do like the term "electro-anachronism," however. The more I read these sorts of semantics debates, the more I'm reminded of the old days on usenet with alt.gothic - is XYZ goth? Can ABC be goth? What IS goth? Am I not goth if I like EFG? (What's really fun is that I find myself running into alt.gothic regulars in today's steampunk communities. There must be some connection. Someone should do a study.)
And finally, here are some random steampunky goods found around the web. I think the Otokibako has some great potential for decoration and alterations. The Raku Ray Gunsare technically extraterrestial in origin, but they look as if they could fit in quite well in Victorian battles. Black Phoenix has a "steamworks research facility" lab these days which manufactures steampunky scents, and even though I rolled my eyes at first, I have to admit I'm curious about "Smokestack," which apparently smells like "creosote, coal, and industrial waste." Really? Do tell!
The steampunk festivals are coming! If you're near Arkansas this summer, the Ravenwood Festival will be something to see. (As an aside, it's interesting to see just how goth the steampunks are becoming. It was always a component, but this festival has Voltaire as a top performer!)
For the tinkerers and the artists alike: it's not too late to enter the Artbots 2008 competition!
I think the iTea would make an excellent part of a steampunk party or living environment. The tea cups and table could be embellished, and the technological spiral of information that the device emits could become part of the design as well.
I also think that Wirepodwould be a wonderful addition to a steampunky library or study. Some commenters think it's too much, but I think it's a great - and elegantly Victorian, especially if decorated - solution to ugly wires. Apparently this is going to be part of a Wiremore product line, but I don't think it's available just yet.
I can't believe I haven't heard of Adele Blanc-Sec until now. A feisty Victorian-era woman who fights monsters and then goes into cryonic hibernation for a few decades? Wow! Rumors are swirling about a possible movie in the works.
And finally, those of you who remember me babbling about a steampunk anthology arriving on my doorstep last week will be interested in the discount offer the editors are making - here's the full announcement!
STEAMPUNK ANTHOLOGY OFFER:
Publishing house Tachyon Publications and editors Ann and Jeff VanderMeer have agreed to make their new fiction anthology, Steampunk, available for pre-order at a discounted price. This volume, priced at $14.95, is being offered at $12.00, including free shipping within the United States. Shipping outside the United States will be by Global Priority Mail: $9.50 to Canada and $11.00 to our friends in Europe.
In addition, books ordered through this offer will arrive signed by the editors. Signed and personalized…they will even draw little zeppelins!
What might one expect to find within the covers of this anthology? Metal men, clattering clogs, hydraulic horrors, dashing daredevils, corseted courtesans, and, of course, many and various airships—along with all the thrills and rarified pleasures that you could ever hope to enjoy.
Steampunk features work from Michael Chabon, Neal Stephenson, James P. Blaylock, Joe R. Lansdale, Mary Gentle, Ted Chiang, Michael Moorcock, Jay Lake, Molly Brown, Stepan Chapman, Ian R. MacLeod, Rachel Pollack, Paul Di Filippo, Rick Klaw, Jess Nevins and Bill Baker. In addition, a recommended reading list and other resources are included for your further reading enjoyment.
Be sure to reserve your copy before May 15, the expiration date for this kind offer.
If you have ever considered starting up a weblog or a website for something that particularly interests you, and then thought that perhaps it wasn't worth the effort, I offer a reason to go on and do it: you may just end up with something really cool arriving in the mail...like, say, an advance reader copy of a steampunk anthology! Many thanks, Matt! (Also, if anyone out there is looking for a good PR guy, Matt is available.)
Jess Nevins writes one of the stories in the anthology, and if the name sounds familiar, that's because Jess is also the author of the unofficial guides to the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen publications, along with several other works. (Jess is also a librarian. See, librarians rock.)
Now that absinthe is legal in the U.S., the sky is the limit. Absinthe lollipops? Sure, why not?
Happy Poisson d'Avril, everyone! This was a fun holiday when I was in France. Here, it's not quite as absurdist, but the internet has made it more entertaining. Some examples are flying penguins, Google's new custom time email, and a collaboration between Virgin and Google called Virglethat promises to take us all to Mars. I took the questionnaire to see if I would qualify and got the following: "Well, you're distressingly normal and could conceivably adjust to life as a deep space pioneer, though we recommend instead that you leave the Mars missions to the serious whack jobs."
Which brings us to steampunk! No April Fool links here, although it may sound like one when I go on about Tesla towers and self-propelled Victorian houses...but both of these and more will be at the Maker Faire in May.
Questionaut is an educational game that is not really Victorian at all...but as the main character wears goggles and travels in a hot air balloon (a DIY one at that), I'm going to say it fits. It's fun to play, too, and takes some problem-solving brainpower to move up the levels!
If we get rid of trucks to save the environment, we still need a large-scale delivery system. Why not consider the underground pipeline? (Better yet, let's make them all pneumatic. Zoom!)